PHILIP ROTH: Your role is to write as well as you can. You're not advancing social causes as far as I'm concerned. You're not addressing social problems.
What you're advancing is... there's only one cause you're advancing; that's the cause of literature, which is one of the great lost human causes. So you do your bit, you do your bit for fiction, for the novel.
JEFFREY BROWN: Why do you think it's become one of the great lost causes of our time?
PHILIP ROTH: My goodness. Um, oh, I don't think in twenty or twenty-five years people will read these things at all.
JEFFREY BROWN: Not at all?
PHILIP ROTH: Not at all. I think it's inevitable. I think the... there are other things for people to do, other ways for them to be occupied, other ways for them to be imaginatively engaged, that are I think probably far more compelling than the novel. So I think the novel's day has come and gone, really.
JEFFREY BROWN: I would imagine you would think this is a great loss for society.
PHILIP ROTH: Yes, I do. There's a lot of brilliance locked up in all those books in the library. There's a lot of human understanding. There's a lot of language. There's a lot of imaginative genius. So, yes, it's a great shame.
Perennial prophecy: death of the novel. To what degree do you think it will come true this time?
(I predict this thread won't get half the comments the Buffy one did.)
I have my doubts. I mean: we won't ALL turn transhuman cubical watermelon, surely.
Via Golden Rule Jones.